Archive for January, 2019

Volkswagen Canada Inc. has suspended the sale of several models amid a U.S. investigation into whether the car-maker purposely rigged vehicles to trick emissions tests.

“Volkswagen Canada has issued a stop sale order for all vehicles affected by this issue,” a statement from VW Canada spokesperson Thomas Tetzlaff said.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency alleged last week that the German car maker used software that allowed cars sold in the United States to release fewer smog-causing pollutants during tests than in real-world driving conditions.

The cars, built in the last seven years, include the Audi A3, VW Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat models.

Tetzlaff said the affected models in Canada carry the 2.0-litre TDI engine and pertain to Jetta vehicles made between 2009 through this year; Golf models between 2010 and this year; 2013 to 2015 Beetle models and Passets manufactured in 2012 and this year.

Models with that engine were sold both in Canada and the United States. The EPA alleges about 500,000 diesel cars in the United States contained the software.

“We will work with our colleagues at Volkswagen of America as well as our parent company in Germany to resolve this matter in the most timely fashion,” Tetzlaff said in an email message.

MORE: VW chief ‘deeply sorry’ for rigging cars to violate U.S. pollution laws

On Sunday, the CEO of Volkswagen apologized. “I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public,” Volkswagen chief Martin Winterkorn said in a statement. He said VW has ordered an investigation and promised that the company would co-operate with regulators.

The U.S. agency has ordered VW to fix the cars at its own expense but said individual car owners do not have to take any immediate action. VW also faces fines that could add up to billions of dollars. Volkswagen shares plummeted 20 per cent Monday in reaction to the controversy.

Industry analysts said the VW CEO also faces difficult questions himself in the coming days, particularly at a scheduled board meeting Friday.

“At the moment, I’d be surprised if Winterkorn can ride this out, but in Germany there’s often a slightly slower process in these matters,” said Christian Stadler, professor of strategic management at Warwick Business School.

Environmentally friendly

Volkswagen marketed the diesel-powered cars, which account for about 25 per cent of sales, as being better for the environment.

The EPA insisted that the violations do not pose any safety hazard and said the cars remain legal to drive and sell while Volkswagen comes up with a plan to recall and repair them. However, it said the cars pose a threat to public health.

The EPA also indicated the scale of the fines that could be imposed. It said the carmaker could be hit with up to $37,500 per vehicle for the violations — a total of more than $18 billion.

The California Air Resources Board is also investigating, while German authorities are looking into whether the company bent the rules there too.

“The auto manufacturers have to work closely with U.S. authorities to comprehensively clarify the matter,” Michael Schroeren, a spokesman for Germany’s environment ministry told reporters in Berlin. “We expect reliable information from the car manufacturers so that (German authorities) can check whether comparable manipulation has happened in Germany or Europe.”

— With files from Global News

The son of the Syrian refugee tripped by a Hungarian journalist accompanied Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo onto the pitch before the team’s Spanish league game on Saturday.

Zaid Abdul Mohsen, accompanied by his father Osama and brother Mohammad, toured the Bernabeu stadium and had a kick-about on the pitch ahead of Real Madrid’s match against Granada.

Mohsen was captured on video carrying seven-year-old Zaid when Hungarian camerawoman Petra Laszlo tripped him and sent him tumbling to the ground in a field full of other migrants running from authorities near the Hungarian village of Roszke.

Images of him being tripped by the Hungarian journalist provoked outrage across the continent.

WATCH BELOW: See the original footage of Mohsen being tripped while carrying his young son Zaid which shocked Europe and the world

 

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The family arrived in Germany last week exhausted from the long journey and the international spotlight that followed them after the tripping incident, but young Zaid still had the strength to open a broad smile and declare his love for soccer and his greatest idol: “Cristiano Ronaldo.”

After the incident in Hungary, Mohsen ended up in Germany, where media reports revealed he had been a soccer coach in Syria. That prompted a Spanish soccer academy to offer to rebuild his life.

The CENAFE school in the suburb off Getafe helped bring Mohsen to Spain and will give him a job and a place to live near its training facility.

“Hopefully this will serve as an example to the rest of Europe,” said school president Miguel Galan.

“We need to help these people.”

READ MORE: Syrian tripped by Hungarian journalist arrives in Madrid

Galan will now try to bring Mohsen’s wife and his other two children from a refugee camp in Turkey. Getafe authorities will also work to get the family legalized in Spain as soon as possible so Mohsen can start working as a coach. He and his family will also have to learn Spanish.

©2015The Associated Press

MONTREAL – The walls are coming down and bulldozers are moving in.

Demolition began this weekend at the Tannery Village in Saint-Henri, a week before excavation was set to finish.

READ MORE: Old settlement discovered at Turcot Interchange construction site

The 18th to 19th century village was discovered when work began on the new Turcot Interchange.

The site needed to be removed to install infrastructure, including a new sewage collector.

Municipal opposition councillors have come out insisting that the demolition was done quietly and with little warning.

READ MORE: Tannery Village vigil lights up Saint-Henri

There has been grassroots movement to save the site.

A candlelight vigil was held earlier this month when it was announced the site would be demolished.

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Transports Quebec told Global News they’ve been clear about the timeline.

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“We were very transparent with our communications and what we were planning on doing in this particular area,” said spokesperson Sarah Bensadoun.

“We had neighbourhood committees, we advised the population and we did several media interviews.”

About 150 boxes of artifacts were taken from the site to be catalogued and parts of the village still stand for the time being.

The $3.7 billion highway project is expected to be completed in 2020.

©2015

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau says a Liberal government will cancel the planned purchase of the controversial F-35 fighter jets and instead invest that money in the Navy.

He said over the weekend that there would be no penalty for not buying the F-35s, and maintained on Monday that Canada is under no obligation to do so.

“There is no contract right now for the F-35s,” Trudeau said. “We were part of the international community contributing to the development of it and got jobs through it, but we were never obliged to actually purchase the F-35s.”

But is that correct? Yes and no.

Canadians companies wouldn’t lose current projects, but they wouldn’t be able to bid on huge amounts of future opportunities.

Canada is part of an international group that’s building a slate of F-35 fighter jets. As part of that coalition, Canadian companies are able to bid on, and have received, hundreds of millions in contracts. In a 2014 report, Canadian companies have received $637 million so far.

WATCH: Justin Trudeau was asked Monday to explain how Canada could pull out of a deal to purchase new F35 combat fighters without penalty

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And they could win at least $10.6 billion over the next 25-40 years – if Canada buys the jets.  If the government chooses to withdraw from the program, they would lose out on those contracts.

“If we withdraw from that program then Canadian companies would no longer be eligible for that work,” Dave Perry, a senior analyst at the Global Public Affairs Institute, said in an interview Monday.

But if Canada buys a different plane instead, that loss could be offset.

“If you went another route and acquired a different aircraft using the traditional model using a dollar-for-dollar offset, you could guarantee a potentially higher dollar-value worth of work that would accrue from whatever Canadian industry would do in support of those acquisitions,” Perry said.

Canada’s defence procurement rules force foreign companies to invest 100 per cent of the contract’s value in Canada, Michael Byers, a Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia said during an interview.

Two Lockheed Martin F-35B aircraft fly in formation on Nov. 10, 2010 at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Lockheed Martin – Andy Wolfe

So if a foreign company wins the contract, that money is still getting to Canada.

“So put it head to head, the benefits that the Harper government says it’s going to get from the F-35 in terms of industrial development, versus the industrial regional benefits, the normal system, out of competition, and I suspect they’re pretty even,” Byers said.  “They’ll come to Canada, those $10 billion regardless of which plane is chosen.”

Montreal, which includes Trudeau’s riding of Papineau, would be among the cities most affected by the government not buying the F-35s.

Conservative leader Stephen Harper, whose government initially pledged to buy 65 F-35s before backing out in favour of a review, didn’t hold back when criticizing Trudeau for his announcement, saying Trudeau’s plan would lead to lost business and shows a “profound lack of understanding in the Canadian economy.”

“The Liberal Party is living in a dream world if they think we could pull out of the development project of the F-35 and not lose business. I don’t know what planet they’re living on,” Harper told reporters while taking questions in St. Jacob’s, Ontario, Monday morning.

“This is incredible the Liberal Party says they want to create jobs, build our manufacturing sector. The single, biggest, direct thing the government of Canada does in the manufacturing sector we do is government procurement, and particularly we do defence procurement.”

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NDP leader Tom Mulcair too was critical of the Liberal leader saying his announcement was “one of the more surprising things that I’ve heard Mr. Trudeau say.”

“When he says things like that, he’s just showing his total lack of experience. That’s just not the way these things work,” Mulcair said. He did not, however, say whether the NDP would go ahead with buying the F-35s.

And Byers echoed Mulcair saying writing off one plane for political purposes is a bad decision, suggesting instead Lougheed-Martin, the maker of the F-35, should be able to compete in an open bidding process.

“I think that Justin Trudeau has made a mistake here, I think the next government, or the Harper government… shouldn’t rule out any one plane based on its own political assessment,” Byers said.

Follow @jamesarmstrong7

With files from Bryan Mullan